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Subject: Story Board reviews: Ulm rss

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Angelus Morningstar
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Originally published here, do not replicate without permission or attribution: http://storyboardwebseries.tumblr.com/post/153744268997/feas...

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Synopsis: You are influential figure at the height of the city of Ulm’s heyday. There is a cathedral being built, and a lot of opportunity for you to advance your own position. You will try to leverage the energy of the city to your own benefit.

You have 10-12 rounds in which to amass points, with the winner going to those with the most points. There are multiple sources of points, including pushing your gondola along the Danube River, from buying city seals, from cards you will put into play, and other sundry abilities.

Ulm features a tile puzzle as a centrepiece to the game. Each turn you begin by drawing one of five action tokens from the bag, and then pushing it into a 3 x 3 grid of action tiles. In doing so, you will push one tile out of grid into an adjacent district square. You than can activate the three actions on those tiles on the line you just inserted into, in any order.

Actions include: collecting one money, pushing your boat 1 step, collecting all the ejected tiles on one edge, paying two money to buy a city seal, or taking an additional card action. By default you can play one a turn, but you may use additional card actions to play additional cards.

Commentary: Ulm seems sit somewhere between classic euro design and some of the more modern German styles. If I were to describe it, it feels like a fresh take on established gaming systems. It looks and feels like it should be a heavy game but in reality it falls solidly in the middle somewhere.

The game’s play echoes the themes of classic euros, in the sense you are chasing economic-type competition. However, the interactivity of the systems is much more typical of more recent designs. They have a touch of the type of complexity I would expect of those deeply interlocking games I might expect from Lacerda or Sentiero. Except it’s a step down in terms of depth of complexity.

This actually makes it a welcome stepping stone to games of calibre, but also it provides a chance to play a game with their type of feel within the space of an hour. You really do not have much time or space to do everything you want, but you can engage with the unfolding of your actions and choices over the course of the game.

Ulm was a surprising discovery of Spieltage ’16, and something of a stealth hit. It snuck under the buzz at convention, but slowly and surely there has been a building excitement from people who have come to find it. I think this may be because on the surface it gave the appearance of nothing new, so it took effort to get people to sit down to the table to play.

Verdict: If you like euro games, give this a try. It’s an excellent blend of modern and classic euro sensibilities, and feels heavy but plays as a medium.
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Chris Tan
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I'm trying to get a feel for the complexity of this game, is it similar in weight with any games that you know?
 
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Angelus Morningstar
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I actually compare is strongly to Bruges
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Enon Sci
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Morningstar_81 wrote:
I actually compare is strongly to Bruges


How so? I guess, at a glance, the canal system looks a bit like the river/boat element in Ulm, but does Ulm have anything like the variable player powers which arise from the people you acquire in Bruges?

(I know Bruges, but I'm only starting to learn about Ulm, so that is a genuine question).
 
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Angelus Morningstar
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For me, the comparison is more of a feel of the game than a conceptual similarity.

There is a similar pace and arc to the game, and you are faced with a multiplicity of choice in the action selection that I found drove the system in a comparable manner.
 
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